Northeast Snow Snarls Air, Train Travel

Transit workers clear snow from a subway platform in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. Subways were running with minimal service delays during the morning rush hour. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo
Airlines are canceling hundreds of flights in the snowy Northeast, but they say travelers won't face the same nightmare that occurred right after a Christmas weekend storm.

It will be easier to find new seats for stranded passengers because planes aren't as full in mid-January as they were during the holidays, according to the airlines.

"You'll see a version of what we saw two weeks ago but the airlines are getting smarter, they're doing a lot more preemptive cancellations because they don't need planes out of sequence or out of cycle," said CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg.

Massive Snow Storm Slams into Northeast

American, Delta and other airlines had already canceled hundreds of flights by Wednesday morning, and travel in and out of New York and Boston was very limited.

American expects to resume flights at New York City-area airports by Wednesday afternoon, but won't start flying again in Boston until Wednesday night.

Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, known as the world's busiest, is now a giant hotel, reports CBS News correspondent Whit Johnson. White-out conditions are leaving legions of frustrated fliers wondering just how long they will be stranded.

Meanwhile, Amtrak said it is suspending service between New York City and Boston due to damage to the overhead power system south of Boston.

Commuter rail service also is suspended between New York and New Haven, Conn., as well as on New York's Long Island Rail Road.

There were fewer morning commuters on the main rail line running north of Boston. Some of those making the trip carried bags with their business clothes.

Mike Lombardo, who works at a major financial services company, said, "I guess we're 'essential personnel.'"